Then if we go to verses 4 and 5 of this chapter, Amalickiah desired to be king, and those who supported him “were the greater part of them the lower judges of the land, and they were seeking for power.” Upwardly mobile, career people here. In verse 5 he promised to make them rulers; he promised careers. They were going to have a spoils system. When I get in you will all have better jobs [he said]. He has a backing here, and he is very skillful in manipulating it. Then in Alma 51:8 we also have reference to who comprised this particular support group he had. It wasn’t strong enough to hold on, as you soon find out. “Now those who were in favor of kings were those of high birth [as you would imagine], and they sought to be kings; and they were supported by those who sought power and authority over the people.”
Ambition all over the place is the point. All the ambitious, the rich, the upwardly mobile people of high birth, the snobs. Then in verse 17 of the same chapter: “And it came to pass that Moroni commanded that his army should go against those king-men, to pull down their pride and their nobility . . .” Verse 21: “And thus Moroni put an end to those king-men; and thus he put an end to the stubbornness and the pride of those people who professed the blood of nobility.” They were brought down to be humble. So we get a very good idea what kind of a coalition this was. It’s typical Near Eastern, Central American—you name it. Anywhere you get this combination—the landowners, the powerful group that gets together and wants to rule the land, as against a popular leader leading a popular cause.
We read in verse 7 that “there were many in the church who believed in the flattering words of Amalickiah . . .” They were taken in because they were more impressed by political and economic arguments than religion. People always are. They had just gotten through a hard war, and the affairs of the people of Nephi were “exceedingly precarious.” They were exhausted after the war. They are split down the center now, and this is the last thing in the world that Moroni wanted, of course. Moroni wasn’t the head of the church; [Helaman] was. We mentioned this before; we see how quick these things happen. Verses 8 and 9 belong to what you call “wisdom literature.” It was very characteristic in Lehi’s day. More studies are being made on wisdom literature than any other field today. It has to do with the common ground of the Egyptian and Hebrew wisdom literature. The Wisdom of Solomon is found in the Wisdom of Amenemope word for word. The wisdom literature of the [Egyptians] and the wisdom literature of the Hebrews is like that. Nobody was willing to admit it until very recently. You are very suspicious when you find the Bible in Egyptian writings, but there it is. They have finally broken down and admitted it. There are studies by Fox and many others on this particular subject, showing that the wisdom literature of the two is the same. Way back it was discovered. Erman discovered it ages ago. A very important work, “The Tomb of Petosiris,” was studied by a Frenchman who found at least twenty passages from the Old Testament in the tomb. This was a very important high priest’s tomb from the fifth century B.C. during the Persian period. What was he doing quoting the Old Testament all over the place? “Come with me and I will teach you the way of salvation, the way of light and truth.” He goes on in that manner. Lefebure, who edited the text and got it all together, said, “It’s pure coincidence.” There are at least twenty passages that are identical from the Old Testament and the teachings of Petosiris, and lo and behold it’s just a coincidence. They had nothing to do with each other. Can you imagine that? Well, finally they have broken down and admitted, “Yes, it must be the same.”
It’s not surprising the Book of Mormon is written in Egyptian. It’s much more concise and easy to handle. They tell us if they could write in Hebrew they would, but it is too large and takes up too much space. At this time demotic writing was the official writing in Hebrew. It had only been in for a hundred years, but it was the new shorthand. Everybody was using it because it was very convenient. It was so much shorter than anything else discovered.
In room 35 (I think) of the Cairo Museum there is an inscription. I should have brought along pictures of it. The inscription is in Egyptian hieroglyphic writing, Egyptian demotic writing, and Greek. The Greek and Egyptian take up so much space. The demotic takes up just about seven lines. All the other inscriptions take up half a wall, but this one is just like that. It’s amazingly economical. That’s why they were using it. If they could write in Hebrew, they would be more understood.
So we have this wisdom literature. Then we go on to verse 10 and talk about the tricks here—Amalickiah’s cunning and flattering words. That’s the secret. All through the Book of Mormon you see that’s what does it. Public relations do the thing. As Joseph Smith said, the devil is an orator. He flatters them and tells them the things they want to hear. Samuel the Lamanite said, when someone comes and tells you what’s wrong about Zarahemla you stone him, cast him out, and say he is a false prophet. If he tells you what’s right about Zarahemla, you carry him on your shoulders, dress him in costly attire, and parade him around the city.
It’s very interesting that the Chilan Balam, a Mayan document, says when a true prophet came among the people, they would lift him up and carry him on their shoulders through the city, exactly as it says in the Book of Mormon. He says, when a false prophet tells you what good people you are then you say he is a true prophet and you raise him up, dress him in fine apparel, and carry him around the city. This chapter 46 is just loaded with these things that are just casually tossed in, little things that you have no control over.
A German scholar, Friedrich Blass, wrote a massive work, a documentary on the proving and testing of ancient documents. We have it here, and I have a copy of my own. Blass gives a number of ways by which you can test the authenticity of an ancient document. The most obvious is this. First, it can be a document [written by someone] like Clement of Alexandria, Philo, any of the apostolic fathers, or any of the writers in the Patrologia—the fathers of the church. All they are is commentaries, like science and health. Other people have written their bibles and their commentaries, but they are just commentaries on the scriptures. They are sermons, wisdom literature, etc. That’s fine. Joseph Smith wrote a history. Blass said the one thing you cannot fake is a history, and the longer it gets the more dangerous it gets exponentially. Every time you add an item, you make it that many times more difficult to get away with something, because you are tipping your hand if you are making it up. That’s very obvious. So a historical document is the hardest to fake, and a long historical document is impossible to fake. This certainly is impossible here.
He said the best way of testing these is not the broad sweeping ideas and concepts, romantic descriptions, or things like that, but the little details of everyday life that slip in, little casual things. This chapter is loaded with them, the things that you never suspected. They sneak in on you, those things that a person wouldn’t have known or faked. Remember, nobody had been to Central America at that time. It was terra incognita way back in the 1820s when he was writing about it. We are going to see some of these things. Like Samuel the Lamanite [said], they flatter the people. That’s the best way to get the votes. Tell people what they want to hear. Don’t rebuke them. That’s what we like to hear—that we are standing tall and all that sort of thing.
Moroni is “fit to be tied,” of course. He is the one who just got them through the war. They got through by the “skin of their teeth,” a very close thing. It was a long war, and both sides were exhausted and sick of it. Then this guy started stirring things up again. He started it going all over again. Well, you can imagine how Moroni would feel about that, because Moroni hated it. Remember, he was very young. He came out when he was twenty-five as a general. But he retired very early, too, after very few years. When the war was finally over he retired to his own home and died shortly after that. He didn’t live very long. He could have easily been dictator afterward. He was the hero, the man of the hour, the great leader, etc. Nope, he dropped all his offices and all his honors and retired to private life. That’s the last we hear of him until he died at a relatively young age.
Moroni is going to do something about it. Verse 11: “. . . he was angry with Amalickiah.” I should hope so. Now we start getting some of this stuff that couldn’t be faked by anybody. (I would leave my Arabic text home, wouldn’t I? This will have to do for the time being.) “. . . he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it—In memory of our God, our religion and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children—and he fastened it upon the end of a pole.” Now we have this coat called which is going to be used as a banner called “the title of liberty.” He talks about “Christians” and uses all sorts of things that you think he may be giving himself away with. How about this coat?
Well, now we are going to have to refer to the Battle Scroll. You all know about the Dead Sea Scrolls. It’s hard for me to realize that [many] other students until now were contemporary with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, but that’s forty years behind us now. The Dead Sea Scrolls aren’t daily news anymore. In fact, they have been suppressed ever since 1960. Neither the Catholics nor the Protestants liked what they said. We’ll see why. I must tell you something about them in that case. I have this article. You know where they were discovered and all that. In 1948 a shepherd boy by the name of Mohammed Dhib was the nephew of the majordomo in the house of President Barnes at the American University in Beirut. This all ties up. He was just a shepherd boy east of Jerusalem there, out in the desert along the Dead Sea. Incidentally, that majordomo was a very interesting person, and he was very much interested in the gospel, especially in the Pearl of Great Price. That’s another story; these things all tie together. He [the shepherd boy] was chasing the sheep (you all know this). The sheep went into a cave. He threw a rock in to see where it would land in the cave. Instead of a “clunk” he heard a “clink.” It hit a jar. They went in and there were all these jars stored there with documents in them. Then they discovered eleven caves in quick order. They went out there and got all excited. There was a big fight about what the documents were. They were buried there by some people who fled from Jerusalem at the time it was destroyed after the time of Christ, in the year 70 A.D. But before that in 150 B.C. they went out there, and earlier than that.
Should I draw a map? Well, all right, this is the way it goes [he draws a map]. The Dead Sea comes out here with a thing called the lisãn or the tongue, which sticks out into it. It’s very shallow here; you can walk across. They do. That’s how they smuggle arms today into Palestine, by walking across here at night. They hold them on their heads. There are paths across, but you must know the way. If you miss your step on either side you are gone. It’s twice as salty as the Great Salt Lake. It’s not just brine; it’s acid. It just eats your head off if you get into it. But they do swim here at Ein Gedi. There’s a deep canyon looking very much like Rock Canyon with very steep very dangerous cliffs, etc. In those cliffs are a number of caves and holes. The Cave of Manuscripts was found there in 1965-66. Yadin and his group found it there. There Arabs had known about these things all along. This is the Cave of Manuscripts, but the original was at Qumran. This is where the cave was in 1948. They found other caves and everybody went out. Here’s Jerusalem right down here. It’s not very far. Here’s Jericho. It’s just a couple of miles above. The highway, now they’ve paved it, goes down there all along here, and then zigzags along here. (That very graphic map will tell you exactly what’s going on here.)
At Naḥal Ḥever they found the Cave of Scrolls, and there they found that the people had been fleeing to these caves and hiding way back since the earliest days of the Egyptians. When the Egyptians came in way back in the First Dynasty, 3,000 B.C., they started depositing stuff—family goods, records and things like that in these caves. Some marvelous temple implements were deposited in the cave at En-gedi, along with these documents. What they find is deeds, wills to farms, etc. One thing leads to another. This all belongs in last semester, but we have to know about this because we are talking about the Battle Scroll that came from this. One of these scrolls was describing how Israel should go to battle in the last days and in their days, the sacred order given to them with the law, which we don’t have in the Old Testament. What is the sacred order of battle they have to use? Very important are these banners. They talk about their liberties and their families. They figure in the regular order of battle, and this plays a very important role here.
They were edited by Professor Yadin. He has been here several times. He just died. He was the one who took command in the great eight days war for the liberation of Israel in 1948. He visited us a number of times here. He was telling a group of us one night that this Battle Scroll was discovered just before the battle of the liberation of Israel—the first battle when they had to fight [with] nothing, that miraculous war when they finally got a foot in the Holy Land. When the Arabs were going to sweep in and wipe them right out, they discovered this. He said this was a great inspiration, because this is an inspiration to the liberating of the land. They raised the title of liberty and all that sort thing. That had a great influence on them. He told some remarkable stories. He was chief commander. He not only was the head of antiquities in Israel, but was the commander of the army at that time. He told about a furious argument he had with Ben Gurion. Where should they deploy their artillery? On the Golan Heights to stop the Syrians up there, who are very dangerous? Or should they keep them back in Jerusalem to defend the city. After much argument they decided to split their artillery and put half of it in the Golan Heights and half of it in Jerusalem. The entire artillery consisted of two guns—old, brass 75 skoda guns from World War I. That was their entire artillery, and with that they saved the nation. Believe it or not, that’s the way things happened. Miraculous! Yadin said, “We don’t believe in miracles, but we count on them.” Typical Jewish joke and typical Israeli attitude. They put one at the Golan Heights and one in Jerusalem, and the Syrians lost a tank attack. The one gun let go, the only one they had. Bam, it hit a tank. It completely surprised them. They didn’t know [the Israelis] had any artillery at all. Then it shot again and hit another one. [The Syrians] said, “Hey, they must have heavy artillery.” They stopped the attack and drew back then. That saved Israel. It was as close as all that. Just one feeble, old 75 gun was all it took to do it, to promise other things like filling the people with panic. It was like Johnston’s Army [and the Mormons]. These things go that way. The Lord said, “I’ll fight your battles,” and he does.
Anyway we have this Battle Scroll, and it’s interesting because of all this talk it has about the [banner]. Let’s read the rest of it. “. . . he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it—In memory of our God, our religion and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children . . . And he fastened on his headplate, and his breastplate . . .” Notice, he put on his ceremonial armor, his extra armor. “. . . and his shields [in the plural], and girded on his armor about his loins.” He is really heavily armed. Then he took the pole with the title of liberty and bowed himself down and dedicated it and the land to the Christians. (I guess we’d better take it verse to verse here.)
Let’s first take the Banner of Kawe and the background of the liberation of the people by the man with the banner. It’s the idea of it being his coat, because immediately we think of the coat of Kawe. The freeing of Israel is closely connected with the name of Cyrus, who was their great deliverer. It was Cyrus who brought them back from the Babylonian captivity after the days of Lehi here. After they had been there seventy years, he brought them back. They were ready to come back, and Cyrus brought them back. They were very close to the ancient Persian empire, as you know from the book of Esther. Esther was the “right hand” of the shah there. So we have the story of Kawe. We summarized it here in An Approach to the Book of Mormon. There’s some interesting material in here, I noticed. Part of it is the story of the Banner of Kawe. (I was going to bring the later Arabic stuff. I had it all home, but I’ll bring it next time. That’s all right.) We talk about the very close association here in Jewish eschatology, in the Jewish books like the Talmud. After all, what happened when Jerusalem fell in the time of the Dead Sea Scrolls. It was destroyed, absolutely smashed, and the people scattered. It tells us in Matthew 25 that it was going to be—and better in the Pearl of Great Price (Joseph Smith—Matthew). Where did they go? Where did they flee? Most of them fled to the Persian empire and settled. Persia gave them shelter for hundreds of years. The most important old settlements of the Jews were around Persia. I have a collection of the documents that were collected there by an investigator who went around and interviewed. He interviewed Jews all over in the Persian empire at that time and got old stories about them. One of the stories that was a favorite was the story of Kawe. This is what it is.
We have in the Title of Liberty episode a clear and independent parallel, for Moroni’s banner is just like the “Flag of Kawe” (dirafsh-i-kâwiyâni). He was the legendary founder of the Magi. We are already into Hermetic literature here with the Magi, the same Magi who came from Persia to give gifts to the Lord because they had seen his star in the east. They had seen his star rising; they were astrologers. They play a very important part in the Cabala and in Jewish mysticism all the way through. They are always popping up. This is the founder of the Magi, not of the Persian nation, but of the sect of holy men who studied the cosmos, made predictions, and lived strictly moral lives in community of the saints. These are the Magi. In the beginning of the story Iran was under the rule of the serpent, the oppressor, “the man of the Lie and king of madmen,” Dahhak. It means “the lier, the deceiver.” Dahhak ruled the nation. He reigned a thousand years and forced all men to subscribe their names in the Book of the Dragon. That’s an interesting thing because Moroni requires all the people that come under his banner to subscribe their names. The same thing happens in the Dead Sea Scrolls in the Battle Scroll, as we will see. We are dealing with one particular episode, with one particular phase of a culture, in which you have a rather complicated, rather exotic way of doing things. The Book of Mormon just matches up to perfection here.
To liberate the people there rose up in Isfahan a mighty man, a blacksmith named Kawe. He took his leather apron. Remember, Moroni rent his own garment and put it on a pole. That’s exactly what Kawe did. He took the leather apron he wore at his work and placed it on the end of a pole; this became the symbol of liberation and remained for many centuries the national banner of the Persians as well as the sacred emblem of the Magi. Going about with his banner, he waved it everywhere. Kawe called upon the people to rise in revolt. We are told here in verse 21: “. . . the people came running together with their armor girded about their loins, rending their garments in token . . .” the same as when they came to join Kawe here. This is a ritualized thing. Remember, ancient society was sacral. Everything they did was a rite, an ordinance. If they went to war, it was an ordinance. When they came back, it was an ordinance. And everything we do is an ordinance. It’s ritualized. We don’t hold it sacred necessarily, but say a football game. We follow rules and ordinances and colors and procedures—everything as if it had been orchestrated since the year one. This elaborate [procedure] of a football game is a rite. It’s symbolic, one color against the other color, and one gets the most points. All these people come, sit around and look at it, and take sides. They cheer together in unison. All this was well established by the Romans when they had the factiones and the same colors. You would cheer for your party, etc. This is very ancient; it goes way back.
We have it going back here. Going about with his banner, Kawe called upon the people to rise in revolt and shake off the oppressor; to lead the people, the hero Threataona [our friend Moroni] was raised up in the mountains by a shepherd. (Well, Cyrus was raised up in the mountains by a shepherd.) He put Kawe in charge of raising and leading an army. This Threatoana is a doublet of King Cyrus, the founder of the Persian nation and in Jewish lore the holiest of kings next to Solomon and David. So they are very close to these customs. The holy kings are Solomon, David, and Cyrus. The parallel with the story of Moroni’s banner is very striking here.
The Dead Sea Scrolls provide the link here. We’ve got Kawe and his banner going. The Dead Sea Scrolls are the best control we have on the Book of Mormon, because here the Jews are doing things as they did back there. It matches the Book of Mormon in so many points. As early as 1960 John Allegro, who had been very active in the scrolls, lost a job at Oxford for writing an article which was published in the Atlantic. It showed that between 1950 and 1960 the scrolls had been suppressed. Father Joseph Fitzmeyer gave a course in Aramaic here one summer about ten years ago. There were four or five of us in the course. He is the foremost Roman Catholic scrolls man in the country. Father de Vaux was the one who was in charge of editing the Catholic scrolls. Under the Rockefeller grant they divided them up. Catholics would have some, Baptists would have some, Presbyterians, etc. To make a long story short, Father Fitzmeyer insisted at that time that not five percent of the scrolls had been published. They had all been kept back. The Christians were worried sick about them; they are much too Jewish. And the Jews are worried sick about them; they are much too Christian. What they are is Book of Mormon.
This article by Norman Golb is a good one. It came out in 1987. Norman Golb teaches Hebrew at Hebrew University, and he has taken these scrollers to task. The way they could avoid being serious about it and having to explain the scrolls was by saying, “Well, they are just Essenes.” The Essenes were a group of crackpots that lived out there. Josephus mentioned some of them living on the Dead Sea. Some of them lived in Egypt, etc. Dupont and others said they were Essenes, and they argued about that. They finally concluded we’ll say the Essenes wrote these and we won’t have to worry about them, because they were just crackpots. We don’t have to explain this. But it wasn’t that way at all, as Norman Golb shows. They were not Essene a bit. He makes these points here. He talks about the Essene fervor, and everybody takes it for that now. “What they are not told is that the Essene-Qumran theory, however widely accepted, is at odds with almost every shread of evidence. The analysis of the scrolls actually reveals that Judaism as a whole was the salient influence.”
This represents the religion of the Jews before the fall of the temple. These things we have to remember too. The synagogues, the schools of the rabbis, didn’t begin until the temple disappeared. A rabbi is not a priest; he has no authority. He is just a learned man who has been chosen by a community. They are very jealous of the temple. When the temple was taken away, that order went away. Then the synagogue became the important thing, though they had used it before. When they lost the temple they lost everything. An entirely new order of Judaism was established. Before then their practices were different, their doctrines were different, and everything else was different. The Book of Mormon is temple-centered Judaism. The first thing Nephi does when he goes off and founds his community is to make a model of the temple. They build a temple. The people throughout the Book of Mormon are temple-building people. Well, they came just under the wire because after that the temple was destroyed. Then came the second house. The temple of Solomon was still standing in Lehi’s day, but it wasn’t standing in Nephi’s day. After they left, Jerusalem was destroyed, and especially the temple. So here we have another kind of Judaism entirely, which sounds an awful lot like Christianity. It keeps mixing them. That’s why nobody likes it. They blame the Essenes for that; they were a mystic group, etc. But he [Golb] says that won’t do. This is the Judaism that was practiced by all the Jews before the fall of the temple. That’s what it is, and that’s why it sounds so strange to you.
He tells us here, “We widely accept the Essenes as having a great effect on the formation of Christianity. . . . In the cemeteries at Khirbet Qumran were the graves of women as well as men. Unqualified sexual abstinence they didn’t have.” We are told in the ancient records of the Essenes that they were celibate, but the people at Qumran weren’t celibate. It took an awful time to bring these people to realize this. During the war I was back there in 1964, and there was not a soul there. I was sent back by the Brethren to get something. Joseph Saad was the only person in the big Rockefeller Museum. The Palestine Museum it is called now. He was in charge of the whole operation. He coordinated the whole operation. He was the only one there, and we got to be very good friends. He’d take me out to Qumran. We spent several days out there going around, recalling all the things that happened there such as the arguments. They couldn’t agree on anything they found. The interesting thing was there were all these baptismal fonts. They are very obviously baptismal fonts. Immediately, the Christians all declared, “Ah, these were just pools for tanning leather.” They almost panicked when they saw these Jews had baptismal fonts there. We went back later with a group, and the Jews had taken over at that time. They had rearranged everything and put big signs up there that said these were baptismal fonts—this is where they baptized. This made such an impression on one member of the group that he joined the Church. That’s a non sequitur, but it’s true. These actually were baptismal fonts for the community.
What were they doing out there? There were all sorts of people. It’s a long story, but you can’t do anything serious with the Book of Mormon without bringing them up here. Father de Vaux said the Essenes must have lived in caves, but what we find is administrative headquarter buildings. Father de Vaux had his opinion about things. You have all seen pictures of Cave IV, the one where the point comes out and it has the caves along the side like this. You see the pictures. This marly material looks like the Morrison deposit here, about the same color, etc. It has these caves in it. That’s Cave IV where they found so many caves. We were going all through Cave IV. Up in the chinks and everywhere these documents were stuffed all over the place. It was marvelous. They had them lined up in jars, a whole library. The work was all over, and they were all packing up to go home. They had just discovered three caves. They were through. Father de Vaux said, “There’s nothing left here.” He didn’t want any more. Then an Arab boy curiously scrambled down the side here, went into one of these caves, and started walking around. He came and reported this Cave IV that they discovered. He said he never saw anyone so mad in his life as Father de Vaux. He said he thought he would die of apoplexy, because this guy had discovered a new cave when it should have been all over with.
It talks here about the refectory, the place where they ate. There was a sort of dumb waiter there, a hole in the wall where they served food. The experts couldn’t figure out what that was at all. The Arabs who were excavating said, “We know what this is. This is what they do at all the palaces, etc.” When a meal is being prepared you never should smell the food until the banquet comes. Then the women come bringing the grub in, the roasts and all the vegetables with the good smell. Then they come in and everybody shouts because it’s the food and everybody smells it. But it’s a bad sign if you smell the food before the banquet. It’s cooked in a cook house outside and then it is brought in. Here they served it through the dumb waiter because this was a community of some sort, they say. Again our experts were all nonplussed because the ignorant peasants who were digging for them knew a lot more about the place then they did. They came out all the way through. “Oh yeah, we know how they do this. We have been doing this ourselves all the time.”
The point to this is that out here in Qumran over 10,000 fragments have been discovered. Every book of the Bible except Esther is represented there. We have all sorts of writings, including the most valuable ones. We won’t go into them. They are necessary here, because among the important ones discovered in Cave I is IQM. This is the way they always note them. This means “Cave I, Qumran, Milḥamah (Battle Scroll).” That’s the Hebrew word for “battle.” It’s the Milḥamah Scroll from the first cave. This tells about the order of battle. It’s worth the whole book, telling about how these people go to battle, how they raise the banner, what they prescribe on the banner, and how the leader takes over. We’ll see that in a minute.
There were five to eight hundred extremely diverse texts found in the Qumran caves, not just fragments but texts. There were thousands of [fragments]. The scrolls derived not from an author’s workshop, as they have always told us, but from one or more large libraries. Since no evidence of a library has ever been found at Khirbet Qumran, where did they come from? It seems these people all came from Jerusalem. There’s a large and heterogeneous body of literature.
This is important. In 1952 the Copper Scroll was discovered in Cave 3. This is an interesting thing. Where did they have their treasures buried? What was the most valuable of all? That would be the book that registered where all these things were to be buried and hid. Where were you to find them? They put on brass plates so it wouldn’t perish. They had plates so big riveted together like that with three holes for rivets in them. They put them together side by side and then rolled them into a copper scroll. It took years to solve how they would get that unrolled. They didn’t unroll it. They finally had to saw it into strips in order to read it. But the interesting thing is that it turns out to contain the record of where all the other scrolls are found. Naturally, the most valuable one would be kept on metal, like the brass plates and the gold plates of the Book of Mormon (gold being rather expensive). About the same size, thickness, etc. The Copper Scroll was associated with documentary autographs. It was written by the person himself. In fact Allegro, who edited the Copper Scroll, said he sees how the people get tired writing in it. [It contains] personal writings. Their hands get tired. They slow down. The figures get more careless, exactly as we read in the Book of Mormon, where the writers say we could write more, but our hands are not up to it. We could write more if we could write Hebrew. They complain about the difficulty of writing on the plates, and these people do the same thing. They are writing on plates here.
He [Golb] says here, “The Copper Scroll has been executed, not in a scribe’s elegant book hand, but in the relatively crude and haphazard style associated with documentary autographs.” The persons themselves are writing it. It is not a professional scribe. This is what you write in and make your own contribution, as in the Book of Mormon. “It includes the various prized artifacts, including written documents.” This tells you where to find the other documents. “They have been sequestered at burial sites throughout the Judean wilderness [they scattered them everywhere]. Many hiding places are located in the wadis eastward and southward from Jerusalem. The next scribe cache is near Jericho, for example, where books were indeed discovered during the third and ninth centuries.”
I wrote an article in the Revue de Qumran on this, showing that the Arabs were constantly discovering these in the early centuries on Islam.1 They mention a number of such caves where documents were hidden. They are lost now; we don’t know anything about them. But they talk about these caves, and they are mystified by the people who lived there and who left them there. There was a very important community called Raqim [now Sahab] a few miles south of Amman. I went out there with Auni Dajani, who was the cousin of the king and head of archaeology in the country. We spent some time out there. I was surprised when I went back the next time years afterward to find that there was a big monument to Auni Dajani there in front of it, telling the work he had done. It is now converted into a sacred shrine, “The Shrine of the Seven Sleepers.” They are erecting a monstrous mosque there of reinforced concrete. It’s going to become a pilgrimage shrine and center. It started out with that little typical Qumran. I had a suspicion there was another Qumran out there at Raqim. It sure enough was, but they got into all sorts of trouble. Both Auni DiGianni and his brother Rafid DiGianni were murdered. All sorts of things happened. They play rough back there. What it describes is the widespread sequestration of books and valuable artifacts at sites scattered throughout the Judean wilderness in a pattern radiating not from Qumran but from Jerusalem.” These were Jews fleeing at that time everywhere. They had been doing this thing since 3,000 B.C. Every time there was danger, they would flee to these caves. Remember, the Lord tells them, in that day flee to the mountains and don’t come back. That’s what they had always done when the enemy came in. We find more scrolls way down south here at Masada.
The moral of all this is that “Christian ideas we find here—predestination, election, the duality of the flesh and the spirit, darkness and light, falsehood and truth—evolved out of Judaism as a whole. [Because of the scrolls] Judaism and Christianity cease to be distant theological cousins and become much closer relatives.” That disturbed both of them. The Jews found it much too Christian. For example, they had to organize at Qumran in a meeting with a presidency of three and a council of twelve, and whenever they met they were supposed to have the sacrament, the bread and the wine which would anticipate the coming of the Messiah. Well, this is Christian; this isn’t Jewish. It shouldn’t be here 150 years before Christ, but there it is and it’s Book of Mormon too. The Christians don’t like it at all because these people were Jews stealing their thunder. The Catholics say they have robbed Christianity of its originality. Christianity isn’t original in the Book of Mormon; it has always been chosen from the very beginning. The gospel has always been there. We find these two things running right together. This is so important for our [chapter 46] here because it starts using the word Christian all over the place. They took the names Christians, and they possessed the land for Christ. What would they call themselves then, if you want to anticipate? Well, they would call themselves Mashiḥi. The names Christ and Christian [are found] in verses 13 and 16 of Alma 46. In Hebrew and Arabic that is Mashîḥî/Masiḥī, but the Jews won’t use that word today. Christ means “the anointed one,” mashaḥ is “to anoint,” and the Mashiaḥ means “the anointed one.” It means exactly the same thing as Christ. Like the Moslems, they [the Nephites] don’t use the word Christ; they use the word Messiah. They don’t use the word Christian; they are the Messiah people. So these people in the Book of Mormon use the word Messiah, but Christ means the same thing. It’s very interesting that modern Hebrew avoids that. They won’t use that word Messiah because that is making a concession here. They call them the Notsrim; that’s the Nazarians. It’s safe to call them Nazarians, but if you start calling Christians Masiḥī, as the Arabs do, that means we are in real trouble here. We are admitting that they believe in the Messiah, the coming of the anointed one, which we believe in too.
I’m going to tell you another series of connected stories. I first went down to the Hopis in the 40s with Brother Virgil Bushman who had lived his life among them. They are renewing the mission to the Hopis, which are the oldest civilization settled in America, the Southwest Indians. They are Pueblo Indians and they have lived in their cities for well over a thousand years there. Old Tom Kuyushva was the first member who rejoined the Church. It’s a very interesting thing. Brother Bushman went down and gave a sermon on the Book of Mormon. Tom was the grand old man; he was the leader. It’s in Hotevilla there, the most pious of the communities. They have five kivas, and he is the one that is always dressed with the ceremonial turquoise, etc., always with the proper accoutrements, the knots and all the rest of it. He always had the place of honor at the dances, etc. He was at the meeting. At the end of the meeting, he came up and said, “Brother Bushman, I want to be baptized.” (He didn’t know any English.)
Brother Bushman said, “But you don’t know anything about it; you’ve just heard it. He said, “But I know it’s true; I know it’s true in here.” So he did become an elder and he became very important. When I went back later with Brother Bushman, he told the story of how the Hopis settled there. They came up from the South. The Great Red City of the South was destroyed because they were wicked people, and they killed the prophets. The migrated at that time; they came up from the Great Red City of the South that was destroyed. When they came up they came to First Mesa, the oldest mesa. That’s old Oraibi. It was the springtime, a beautiful period. The grass was green and waving in the wind. It was a beautiful spring day, which you don’t often get there. The leader walked up the hill, and they saw a tall, handsome man standing at the top of the hill there. He went up to him and said, “Who are you?”
He said, “I am Mashovi.” The two names given are Mashow (Messiah) and Mashovi. He said, “I am Mashovi, and I rule all this land that you can see. It all belongs to me as far as you can see. If you want to settle here, you must pay tithes to me.” The leader put out his hand for the nakwatch; that’s the sacred grip to identify himself. The tall, handsome man put out his hand. The leader gave a strong jerk on it and pulled off his mask (remember, the people always wear masks for ceremonies), and it was a death head. It was Satan masquerading as the Messiah. Nevertheless, they still continue to pay their tithes to him, because after all he is the ruler of this world. He is the one who possesses the land. They will pay their tithes in the Church, but they will also pay their ten percent to Mashovi. The interesting thing is that the same story is told in Tha>lab , whom I failed to bring today, about when David went up to the mount of the temple in Jerusalem. He wanted to build a temple there. He was met by the tall, handsome stranger who was Satan and had to have a fight with him. It’s a very interesting thing the way these tie up. This name Messiah is the name they would use for Christ. The Moshîḥî is what they call themselves, and in our language it’s Christian.
Here in Alma 46:13–14 Moroni consecrates the Title of Liberty. Liberty is dəror heruth. This may sound like modern American language, something Joseph Smith was just lifting. But don’t fool yourself. After all, what is the inscription on the Liberty Bell? “Proclaim liberty throughout the land.” Where does that come from? That comes from Leviticus 25. That’s Old Testament. That’s Jewish, proclaiming liberty throughout the land. They are just following the procedures since the days of Moses. Under the Law of Moses liberty was the name of the game. The Jews alone of all people held the Jubilee. Remember, every seventh year and then every seven times seventh year all debts were cancelled. All slaves were freed. Everything was wiped out. No other people had that. Now that was liberty, because as long as we are in debt to each other, as long as we are under contract to each other, as long as we have to pay off each other, we are not in true liberty. But they knew what real liberty was, and the Lord gave them that command, that every seventh year every slave should be let go. Not just let go. He should be provided for well for the rest of his life. They would take good care of him. All debts would be considered paid off. As long as we are in debt to each other, we can’t say anyone is free in particular. The Jews knew what freedom, heruth, was. They talk about it all the time here.
The titles on the banners are very interesting. There are quite a few of them. They always talk about these idealistic things. This is what Professor Yadin had to say about it. We were fortunate to have Yadin visit us here personally so many times and be so confidential. We do have the Jews visit us from Jerusalem, and we visit them a lot too, as you know. We have a Jerusalem Center there. The titles are mainly based, as Yadin points out here, on apocalyptic, eschatological, and pseudepigraphic parts of the Bible—those prophets in general, and especially Isaiah, who is the favorite in the Book of Mormon, as he is in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Great equality is the influence here and the influence of apocalyptic and pseudepigraphic. That means this borderline literature that goes back to the Jews, that was lost and has just been found throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This Dead Sea Scroll stuff you would call pseudepigraphic. For example, this is called The Battle of the Sons of Light and Darkness. That’s the title that’s given to this, although the title page was missing. He says what we find on the banners are things like this: “Names and Positions of Michael,” “The Light and Darkness,” “The Angel of the Ancient World.” Then they talk about “The Day of God,” “The Place of Knowledge of Justice and Truth.” Finally there’s the calendar. They enroll by families. Everybody who enrolled under a banner had to sign his name exactly as they do here in the Book of Mormon, where it says [verse 21] they came running, and covenanted, and rent their garments. We will get to that, but I see the time is up now. There’s so much of this and it’s so condensed. To put it in a proper order is more than I can do.
1. Hugh W. Nibley, “Qumran and the Companions of the Cave,” Revue de Qumran 5/2 (1965): 177–98; reprinted in CWHN 1:253–84.